If you consult the internet, Sunrise Beaches are abundant in the world, including many in far-away places. But in the State of Texas I came up with only two, one of which sports an airport with a 2,600 foot grass runway. That’s the one in focus here.
This city of “Sunrise Beach Village”, as it is formally known, indeed faces the sunrises of all seasons from the beaches of what is now known as Lake LBJ, named after the 37th President of the United States, who relaxed by its shores.
But this is now and certainly has been since 1973, when this SunriseBeach became only the second city to be incorporated in LlanoCounty. But long before then, say more than a billion years ago, this part of Texas faced the sunrises of that era positioned near the beaches of what was then the southern end of the North American continental plate.
The ensuing geological history left its prints uniquely visible on the surface of this area called the Llano uplift and shaped the lovely landscapes one can’t help but love. Located a mere 30 miles from Enchanted Rock (now also a State Park), the high point of the Llano uplift, the terrain generally, and every backyard particularly offer inescapable presents from the distant past.
The (Texas) Colorado River is credited with contributions to the “landfill” that, over the eons, has grown to a depth of 40,000 feet or more and supports such Cities as Houston, some 250 miles to the Southeast and still some 50 miles from what is today known as the Gulf of Mexico.
This same river, joined by the spring-fed Llano is what today forms LakeLBJ as part of a 7-lake flood control system constructed in the 1930’s.
But travel the Colorado upstream by boat from LakeBuchanan, the first in this series, and you will soon be awed at the work this river has done on the landscape. Today, award-winning wines are grown on its shores and the American Bald Eagle has made it its wintering place of choice.
The Llano Uplift is unique among a few other places in North America. Precambrian rocks from the Proterozoic era bear witness to the collision of continents. Among these are the huge granite domes. In Marble Falls, just 10 miles to the East, these have yielded pink granites for the construction of edifices as far away as New York City and as close to home as the Texas State Capitol building.
But that was not the end of it. Cambrian Sandstone, Ordovician Dolomite and Limestone with all the fossils to boot, Devonian Shale, Sandstone and Chert with evidence of the first amphibians, Mississipian Shales and Limestone bearing evidence of fern-filled forests and coral, Pennsylvanian Limestone (Marble Falls among many others) speaking of coniferous forest and reptiles and another collision of continents that formed the Ouachita Mountains (now sub-terraineal), all left their marks readily visible from the road.
But then, during the Jurassic Period (144-208 million years ago) things started to take shape as we know them. The mega Panganaean continent began to break up and the Gulf of Mexico filled. Dinosaurs were in charge then and left many a foot print in Texas. The Rockies were rising and the slope to the Gulf gave the rivers more muscle. Therefore, Jurassic rocks are few though Limestone, Sandstone and Shale are plentiful.
The Cretaceous period also, left marks in abundance. The Colorado River Canon upstream from today’s LakeBuchanan bears witness to this. That’s when the dinos left us but the flora continued to prosper. And soon, man came onto the scene. From there it was just a short jump of 2 million years or so to the tides of history in which this land was home to the buffalo, the Comanches, Apaches, Mexicans, and finally the mix of nationalities that ultimately declared themselves Texans.
Particularly, the “Texas Hill Country”, as SunriseBeach’s surroundings are affectionally called, experienced a large influx of German settlers. Town names like Fredericksburg or Newbraunfels attest to that heritage and the German language is still found alive after so many generations.